How to Get More with Less

Thinking of selling your home? Below are a some inexpensive home projects that can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to your sales price.

1. Tidy up kitchen cabinets.

Potential buyers will open kitchen cabinets and look inside because they want to make sure their stuff will fit in the cabinet. If your cabinets are crammed and overstuffed, then buyers will feel like there isn’t enough room for their stuff. Home owners can add rollout organizing trays so when buyers peek in, they feel like there’s lots of room for their stuff.

2. Add or replace tile.

By retiling with an inexpensive tile, you can make a room look cleaner and larger than it was. Madison has stores that offer $1 to $2 tile, so home owners can get low-cost tile and labor to replace a dated backsplash or add a new one. Also use inexpensive tile to upgrade bathrooms.

3. Add a breakfast bar.

When a wall separates a kitchen from a family room, consider cutting out an opening to create a breakfast bar. For about $600 t0 $1,000, you can add a breakfast bar, which increases your resale value. Buyers, especially buyers with kids, want a breakfast area for busy mornings.

4. Install granite tile instead of a slab.

Granite kitchen countertops (or solid surface) are on many buyer’s wish list, but the cost to a homeowner can be a money loser since it’s hard to recover the full cost. Instead, home owners can put in 12-inch granite tiles for about $300 in materials and get very high impact for little money.

5. Freshen up a bathroom without retiling.

With a dated bathroom, you can install a new medicine cabinet for $100 to $150, light fixtures for about $100, a faucet for $50 to $75, and a vanity for $200 to $300. And instead of replacing the tile, the existing grout can be lightly scraped and regrouted, which leaves a haze that can be buffed out and will make the tile look brand new. Also install glass shower doors. A French door adds a lot of panache and elegance for $250, and people will notice the door, not the tile. With all that, you’ve done a bathroom remodel for $1,000 to $2,000.

6. Freshen up the basement.

If your home has a cement block or poured concrete walls in the basement, then a contractor can fill in cracks with hydraulic cement and then paint with waterproofing paint. They can then add a top coat to add color and also paint the basement floor with a good floor paint, which spiffs it up. The basement may not be finished, but it’s no longer a damp dungeon.

7. Add a room.

Look for large spaces that can be enclosed to create a new bedroom for just the price of creating a wall. If you’re adding a room in the basement, be sure you’re following local code requirements so you get to take full marketing credit for the new bedroom.

8. Spruce up cabinet fronts.

Replacing kitchen and bathroom cabinets can be costly, especially if you’re doing it only to sell your house. Reconditioning is the least expensive move for under $1,000. If the wood is starting to look shabby from use or contaminants in the air, then take out the nicks and scratches, recondition it with oil, and put new hardware on.  Or, you can replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts or have all the cabinets refaced. 

9. Replace light fixtures.

Relacing light fixtures is inexpensive and have a big payoff. You want every room in your home to be bright, especially during the dark winter months. The best payoffs are in a foyer (because that’s the buyer’s first impression), bathrooms and kitchens. Hardware stores sell new light fixtures for $10-$40.

10. Tech-up the garage.

Replace the garage door opener with a remote touchpad entry system because it makes it look like a high-end system.

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